Is Social Media Destroying Your Relationship?
By Melissa MacFarlane of Voluptasse
I’ve seen the faces of your children before they were even born, I’ve spent hours looking through the holiday photographs of people that I barely know and I’ve sat through all your family fall outs and spousal spats (usually with popcorn!). I know about your kids and the names of all your family pets. What I don’t know, is whether my husband has had a nice day.
Until I check his Facebook status…
For the self-employed, stay at home parent or anyone who spends a lot of time at home alone. Social media provides those fun-filled water-cooler moments that you normally enjoy at the office. During these snatched moments with friends and acquaintances, we’d find out about the break ups, the make ups and share snippets of news with each other. In a society where so many of us feel isolated or too busy to socialise, are we clinging to these moments a little too much?
With this reliance of social media slipping into our personal lives, like so many others I’m becoming increasingly dependent on my phone for all forms of social contact. Rather than speak face to face, it’s much easier and faster to chat to my friends via a private message. Ten years ago, I spent hours every night on the phone to my friends and now, long phone calls are a rarity. Good news that would normally be told to my friends face to face, is shared with the rest of the world on a status or tweet. With this reliance on technology taking over my friendships, I noticed that it’s slowly taking over my marriage too.
Instead of my husband and I sitting together and watching a film. We sit together with a film playing in the background, whilst we play games or text on our phones. When the film finishes, we hardly even notice. Where we’d normally have a conversation about the plot, we chat on an acquaintances random status and make jokes. In fact, I can’t tell you my partners favourite colour, but I can tell you that he has a great sense of humour – he shares some hilarious memes and pictures.
The saddest part of this for me, is that we’ve made some amazing memories together. None of which involve Facebook, Twitter or a screen. When we look back in another 30 years’ time, will we have any genuine memories together? Ones that don’t involve a posed selfie, or a ‘great time on holiday’. Have we wasted almost 6 years of the time we have together staring at a screen and building an online persona, instead of building a relationship.
As a couple, it’s time to get back to basics and step away from the screen. This is much easier said than done when a very part of your job involves social media networking, and engaging with your readers. On the other hand, I’m excited about actually having conversations and doing ‘real things’ again.
For anyone else hoping to join us in our digital detox. I have devised a few helpful tips to get you started. Feel free to add more, we’re all in this together!
Make Some Rules
First things first, make some rules for those times when you should be coupling. Start off small, and ditch the digitals during film time and later increase to other occasions.
Turn Off Notifications
Ping! Ping! Ping! Whether it’s a text, an inbox or a tweet, it’s a distraction. Turn off the notifications and you’ll have no excuse to reach for the phone. Instead, have a nice dinner together and chat face to face. Perhaps go for a walk and leave your phones at home.
Change Your Habits
Think about your motives for going online. Are you reaching for the phone because you’re bored, or you just want to see who enjoyed that funny status you shared about your cat? If you don’t have a valid reason for reaching for the phone again, wait a little longer. Try asking your partner about their day instead.
Swap Your Mobile Phone for an Actual Alarm Clock
The first thing I do in the morning is switch off the alarm on my phone and go to Facebook. Before I know it, I’m running late and I haven’t even said Good Morning! Using an actual alarm helps you to ignore the phone, and spend a little more time enjoying a morning cuddle together.
Find Things To Do That Don’t Involve Social Media
Finally, make a conscious effort to spend time together, something that takes you away from your phones and the temptation of social media. If your addiction to social media makes you twitchy, impose longer times away from the phone and over time, it will get easier. Try the cinema, bowling or a nice meal and spend the whole time enjoying quality time.
Social media is there to help us interact more with others, but in doing that we are cutting ourselves off from the people who are most important. After all, can you sustain a happy relationship with a few minutes of snatched conversation every day?
– Mel MacFarlane
About the writer: Mel MacFarlane is an experienced adult industry copywriter, product reviewer and business consultant. You can find her at her own leading sexuality magazine, Voluptasse. You can also follow Mel’s work on Twitter and Facebook.